Sunday, May 21, 2017

Doing Your Best When You Are Not Valued

I am clearly not valued by many administrators in the system I work in. I know this by the comments they make and the way they rarely to never respond to my ideas or hard work.

Fortunately parents, students and community members support me well with enthusiasm and care. I am honored by this.

Why the gap?

I believe that the administrators who don't support me feel that it is my job to follow their directives without opinion, thought, question, or idea. They see me as the dutiful soldier in the field whose job it is to obey orders. Sometimes I am unable to silently obey because as a teacher who reads and researches and as one who is observant of her students and their families, I notice areas of concern, potential for betterment, and student needs. This observation, reading and research as well as my many years of experience prompt me to speak up, ask questions, and advocate for what is right and good rather than that which has always been a particular way or a directive that has been set far from the classroom, research, or reading.

Parents and students are in steady contact with me. They know that my first priority is doing what I can to teach the children well. They realize that I am open to their ideas and suggestions, and work carefully with my colleagues to teach every child well.

It's difficult to work in an atmosphere that does not support you well--an arena that continually challenges what you read and research to be right and true. Of course, I don't have all the answers, but I do have considerable experience in the field and spend lots of time reading and researching. When you work in a system like this you have to continually get the energy from inside yourself and outside of the school system. Fortunately I have good colleagues who collaborate with me to do good work for the children.

So what's a teacher to do?

I'll carry on and do the best I can day in and day out to teach well. I'll do as I'm directed by my many administrators and speak up if I feel we can do better, more, or different to serve children well even if my advocacy is not welcome.

I know that those quieter and more dutiful than me are rated with higher regard. They don't speak up too often or make waves, but instead go along as directed. Yet, when I see such great potential for change and betterment, I just can't stay silent--I have to speak up as that's one gift I bring to my field, an ability to see potential and promise that exists to make schools better for every child.